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The Marks of a God-Given Ministry (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
October 8, 2021 4:00 am

The Marks of a God-Given Ministry (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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October 8, 2021 4:00 am

What does it mean to be called into pastoral ministry? And what should a church look for in its pastors and leaders? Listen as Alistair walks us through the pattern and purpose of a pastor’s work. That’s our focus on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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Is it mean to be called into pastoral ministry and what should churches be looking for a pastor will find out today on Truth for Life as we begin a series titled the pastor's study is Alister bag with part one of a message titled the marks of a God given ministry and I invite you to take your Bibles and turn with me to the New Testament in Colossians and to chapter 1 and verse 24, the apostle Paul is writing to these believers in the Colossae Valley and he says now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flash. What is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, which is the church, I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness. The mystery that is been kept hidden for ages and generations but is now disclosed to the saints to them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you the hope of glory. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. I want you to know how much I'm struggling for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not met me personally.

My purpose is that they may be encouraged and heartened united in love so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine sounding argument for though I am absent from human body. I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is amen. I want you to know that I'm struggling now these are not my words, these are Paul's words. That's why we read them. They are in Colossians in chapter 2, he says to the church of Colossae.

I want you to know not simply that I am struggling but I want you to know how much I am struggling and interesting word that he would use.

It's a word that is descriptive of his apostolic ministry. It is a very honest word.

It is a word that indicates the depth of his feelings for these dear believers is a word which indicates the rigorous nature of the ministry to which he has been called and it is a word with which all who are involved in pastoral ministry find themselves familiar. The verses that I just concluded reading provide not only for the church Colossae but for the church in every generation as standard by which we might determine what are the marks of a God given ministry. What should pastors in general be doing and how will we be able to assess her God-given ministry looks like, how will we be able to assess the nature of spiritual leadership. Well, here we have in the verses before as not an exhaustive treatment of the subject, but certainly helpful treatment of the subject and Paul in writing in this way invites the Colossian believers to examine his calling the shape of his ministry and his goals and realistically I invite you to do the same.

Not thinking primarily or exclusively in terms of myself, but in terms of the nature of what it means to be called the pastoral ministry in general, what then is the pattern of pastoral ministry.

While clearly it is provided for us by the apostles, both by their precept, and by their example. In other words by their instruction and also by their very lives which they live, and it is on the strength of that. For example, that Paul is concerned to pass the batten of faith into the hands of his young Lieut. Timothy and he urges Timothy in pastoral ministry along the very lines that he that mighty apostle has established in the privileged opportunities and responsibilities to which God had called him and so in looking at what is an apostolic pattern we recognize that the only pattern that we have for pastoral ministry is the one which is been exemplified for us by the apostles themselves, and while there is an obvious and clear distinction between an apostle for an apostle was one of the disdained unrepeatable group of individuals in a pastor who is one of multiple individuals. While there is a distinction to be recognized. There are also clear points of interconnection, which I think will become apparent in the course of our study in this pattern then for pastoral ministry. I want you to notice.

First of all, the mission to which the pastor is called in verse 25 of chapter 1, Paul addresses this. He says of his relationship to the church and thinking on the on a wide basis, not least of all in relationship to Colossae. He says I have become its servant by the commission God gave me. Alice addresses the fundamental question. How does a person become a pastor or better still, how does the Bible determine the inception of pastoral ministry and the answer is you don't volunteer for that is not the way it happens, the pastor does not choose his task or his mission.

Pastoral ministry is given by God from on high and that is modeled all the way through the Scriptures from the calling of God and his servants in the Old Testament all the way through the prophets and then into the disciples and into the apostles themselves and the Bible makes it very clear that God is the initiative taker in all of this in the course of our leadership development in these last couple of years we've been working through a couple of books one with our elders on Saturday mornings. We been going through the book, know the truth, which is been some of the best times I've ever enjoyed in this church and with our pastoral team. We've been going through a little book entitled pastors and teachers, but in the course of this book Derek Prine makes this point that I am suggesting to you. He and I quote and advice frequently given is if you can avoid entering pastoral ministry do so if you can do something else do it.

This is sound counsel if it is right for a man to give himself completely to the ministry of the gospel he will feel that it is the only thing he can do John Ryle and 19th-century Bishop of Liverpool had no hourly sense of call and when he shared his decision to enter the ministry. It came as a complete surprise to everyone. His explanation was I felt shut out to do it and saw no other course of life open to me. How will you know that you are called to pastoral ministry when you can do absolutely nothing else.

If you can do anything else do it for the mission. The coalition comes from God on high two unlikely individuals in time on earth while you say do you think every pastor is thereby divine appointment. While I'm not to judge but I do think that there are clear indications when God has appointed somebody to a task and there are obvious discrepancies when it would appear that the person has simply opted into it and therefore I say to young men who are here this morning, upon whose life God is beginning to move then continue to seek him continue to follow him, but beware of becoming like some of these Colossian teachers who were self-styled teachers and impressive but they were also dangerous. They were like the profits of whom Jeremiah spoke in Jeremiah 23 where God speaks through his prophet and he says of these individuals. I did not send these prophets and yet they have run with their message. It will actually be apparent to all.

When a man is in the place of divine commission so the pattern is that the mission is given by God. It is not simply opted into by men. And secondly, the message is a God-given message. If you scan the verses that we read you will notice that Paul says that it is his expressed responsibility and privilege in verse 25 of chapter 1 to present to you the word of God in its fullness in its fullness that does not come about as a result of five minutes of study on a Saturday night. That does not come about as a result of five hours of study and comes about as a result of hours and hours and hours of study, which is part of the reason that I've been called to the week by week continual exposition of the Scriptures. The elders in their grace and their kindness has surrounded me not only with themselves but with other men. Recognizing the unique responsibility which falls to me and holding my tailed of the fire and the fulfillment audit insofar as they expect me to present the word of God in all its fullness. I have no greater joy. I have no other desire. It is the immense privilege of my life long may he preserve me to at least approximate to the wonder of what it is to do that to which I have been call mercifully and hopefully one will be better next week than this and the following months than the months that have already passed. You see the way that faith is engendered.

The Bible says in Romans is that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

Therefore God would use his word to bring men and women to faith in the Bible also says that it is by the instruction of the word of God.

People are built up that they become strong and stable Christians. Therefore, any ministry which sets aside or denigrates the placing priority of the message that of the fullness of God's proclamation is a ministry that will eventually tend to nothing. That's why, for example, when Peter is reinstated by Jesus and on the morning hours as they meet with one another and Jesus asked him three times. Do you love me you love me Peter yes Lord you know I love you sis and feed my lambs. Peter, do you really love me. I love you horses and feed my sheep. Peter, do you really really love me. Yes, I love you Lord and feed my sheep is interesting isn't that the shepherds responsibility is not actually to feed sheep in the sense of taking grass and stick it in their mouth's. There are peculiar are your responsibilities for lands and especially lambs that are not doing well to hold them close to nurture them to give them a bottle. But you don't find shepherds and my grandfather was a shepherd. You don't find shepherds sitting with big use on the lap. You know Sarah move and the horns are the way so they can read the newspaper saying That Each of Grassy to Press the Responsibility of the Shepherd Is to Lead the Sheep into the Pasture and They Eat the so the Real Question Is Whether the Shepherds in This Charge Are Leading You into the Pastors. Then the Question Is Are You Eating for We Don't Anticipate That Mature Sheep Will Need to Be Spoonfed And/or with Models, but the Real Question Is, Is the Message That Is Being Proclaimed the Ideas of a Man, or the Very Truth of God's Word Because You See, There Were People in Colossae Who Are into All Kinds of Things and That's Why in Verse Eight Paul Says of Chapter 2 See to It That No One Takes You Captive through Hollow and Deceptive Philosophy, Which Depends on Human Tradition and the Basic Principles of This World Rather Than on Christ. Don't Allow Anyone to Sneak up on You and Give You a Bunch of Bunk. Make Sure That the Man Is a Man with a Mission to Make Sure That the Message That He Brings Is to Present to You the Word of God in All Its Fullness Verse upon Verse, Line upon Line Chapter upon Chapter As Opposed Again to the False Prophets of Jeremiah 23 of Which It Says I Did Not Speak to Them, yet They Have Prophesied. Now the Methodology Is Also Clear. Paul Is a Preacher and He Is Presenting to Them.

He Says in Verse Five the Word of God and He Is Proclaiming to Them in Verse Eight All That They Need. He Is True to His Calling and This Is Exactly What We Need and This Is the Way in Which We Are to Assess How Well Things Are Going in Acts Chapter 20 He Says of His Ministry amongst the Ephesians, for I Have Not Hesitated to Proclaim to You the Whole Will of God. I Haven't Kept Back Anything from You There or Strut Their Stuff Is Been Painful.

There Are Things That Are Hard to Receive.

He Says, but I Have Endeavored At Least As You Know My Heart to Proclaim to You the Full Counsel of God, so That Is Peter Says after My Departure. You May Always Be Able to Bring These Things to My and That's the Real Text That a Prime Again Writing of This Says It Is Not Easy to Be Balanced in Our Presentation of God's Truth, William Burns, an Early Scottish Missionary to China Wrote in His Diary How Hard It Is to Unite and Just Proportions the Humbling Doctrine of Man's Inability to Come to Christ without Regeneration and the Freeing Gospel Offer Which Is the Moral Means Employed by God and Conversion. Although Spirit of Jesus My Savior Lead Me a Poor Ignorant and Self Conceited Sinner to the Experience of This Great Mystery of Grace That I May Know How I'll to Declare Thy Glorious Gospel to Perishing Fellow Sinners.

I Want That Prayer to Be My Prayer.

It's Interesting, Is It Not That the Bible Has so Much to Say about the Preaching of God's Word and yet We Live in a Time When There Is Nothing That Quite Is Quite As Denigrated in All Things That Are Happening in the Church As the Preaching of God's Work.

People Say Will You Dawn. People Can Listen to Anything More Than Soundbites. People Don't Think Logically Anymore. Their Thoughts Are Nonsequential. They Read USA Today They Don't Read the New York Times, They Would Be Hard-Pressed to Lead Read the London Times.

It Has Too Many Words and They Would Need a Dictionary to Read It and Therefore How in the World Are You Possibly Going to Be Able to Build a Charge with a Methodology Such As That. Don't You Think You Are to Back It off Back down, Introduce a Little Drama Produce Some Dancing Girls Make the Lights Flashed a Little Make It Fun. After All, Life Is Dreary and All, Surely We Are Not Going to Rely on Such an Outmoded Methodology. Why Would We Ever Do so and the Answer Is Because We Are Told to Do so.

It's As Simple and Straightforward Is That When Paul Was into the City of Corinth That Is Dominated by the Temple of Aphrodite with 1000 Sacred Ct. designs plying the streets in the evening filling Corinth with prostitution when he looked up on the skyline and saw the Temple of Venus, which was dominated in preoccupied with homosexuality.

When he ministered within the environment of a succession of Roman governors having been themselves overtly homosexual when he was surrounded by a group of consumers who were interested in dramatic spectacular things happening on powerful rhetoric taking place. What did he do, he said, when I came to you I did not come with impressive words of man's wisdom, nor with superior eloquence. I recognize that the Jews demand the sign and the Greeks seek wisdom, I access the consumer expectations understood perfectly what it was they wanted and to determine to give them nothing of what they want. Instead, when I came to you, I came in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. And my words were not wise and impressive as I determined to know nothing among you say Jesus Christ and him crucified. Why, because that is the only answer to the drugged out teenage can that is ultimately the only answer to this selfless conservative proud businessman that is the only answer to the fractured family and to the disintegrating culture. The world says do something dramatic. The church in many places says, do something political and I want you to know that on the basis of this pattern of ministry. I have done what I am doing and if God spares me.

I want you to know it's going to be just as boring.

It is the same mission is going to be the same message and it is going to be the same methodology and if that should be something other than it is desired, then so be it. But I have no other strings to my bowl.

I have no other mission than the one I have received, I have no other message than the one I must proclaim and I have no other apostolic pattern of methodology than the one that has been given.

Well, that's a word or two about the pastors pattern. Let's spend less time on the pastor's purpose.

What is the pastor's purpose in ministry. If, as we have noted his posture on the one hand is to make the word of God fully known. He is equally concerned and so he says to see the people of God become fully mature. Now the phraseology that he uses here is in the present continuous TENS. In other words, he is speaking about continual and habitual action. He is talking about that which takes place over a period of time and if I've learned one thing in pastoral ministry.

I've learned this, you better minister with a sense of history and what I mean by that is simply this, and I tell my colleagues all the time, as much as we may desire to have a significant opportunity in this point in history. All that we may be being called of God to do at this point is to keep our foot in the door for another who will come after eyes who will be manifestly blessed and who will enjoy a great ingathering of soul, so that where we are apparently successful on the basis of numbers or whatever criteria may be used by people we do not use that as our own personal manner of assessment. What we do use is to see whether the people who are under our care are growing to maturity, or whether we have a congregation of people that are always on the training wheels who can never go very far from the door, who are not being prepared to step out into share their faith in the responsibility of a father and the mother is to prepare their children for the day when having taken off the training wheels of emotional responsibility and financial security and so on. The child is able to go off on the wrong and that says Paul is my purpose listening to Truth for Life. I was walking the through the pattern and purpose of pastoral ministry. Anyone who is in pastoral ministry knows that biblical leadership comes with significant responsibilities.

And if you are a pastor or team is compiled for you a list of books we want to recommend to you sermons and articles that will help anyone who leads a congregation or serves in local church leadership.

Visit Truth for to view some of our favorite resources for pastors or you can look for the list. In our mobile app and if you're not involved in church leadership.

We hope you are actively involved as members of your local church. Church membership should mean much more than just showing up for service once a week. But what exactly does it entail in his new book devoted to God's church core values for Christian fellowship author and pastor Sinclair Ferguson elaborates on the central role. The church should have in our families lives and he talks about what our role should be has engaged members don't miss requesting your copy of devoted to God's church today when you donate a Truth for when you call us at 888588788 about the pain. Hope you enjoy your weekend worshiping with your local church family and then join us again Monday for Park to look today's message is Alastair big examines the struggles and pleasures of pastoral ministry the Bible teaching of Alastair big is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living

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